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Key Note Remarks by the Deputy Minister of Police, Hon. Ms. Makhotso Maggie Sotyu (MP) at the Official Memorial Service of the Late Sgts Lesiba Sekele and Lawrence Lentsoane.
19 March 2015

The Bereaved Families of Sekele, Lentsoane, and Chabane, Programme Director, Ministers and Deputy Ministers present, MECs, Councillors present, Acting National Commissioner of Police, All Provincial Commissioners present, All SAPS Top Management, Our Men and Women in Blue, All SAPS Stakeholders present, Community Leaders and Members, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Minister of Police, Mr. Nathi Nhleko, I wish to convey his sincerest apology for being absent these few days. As the Executive Authority of this Department, the Minister of Police is deeply aggrieved, and he is sending his heartfelt condolences to the Sekele and Lentsoane families.

We also acknowledge the presence of the Chabane family. You being here vividly shows that the role of the VIP Protectors is not what the public thinks it is. Their role is far from the mythically dramatized depictions in the movies, where there are firefights and fist fighting.

Sgts Lentsoane and Sekele first and foremost provided personal support to their Minister, ensuring that his start of the day was punctual, protected, and precise. These are the factors that promoted the good reputation of the late Minister Chabane, as he was rarely late for his official engagements due to these members’ high work ethic; and, these are the factors that kept peace of mind in his family, because of the precision to schedule by these two members.

Unfortunately, to the layperson, these factors are regarded as mundane/dull, and the Protectors’ importance and potential risks they daily faced often had remained undervalued by both society and superiors.

That is why we, as the Ministry of Police, have decided to prioritize the health and wellness of every active police officer, for this Governance Term 2014 – 2019. Our Protectors often work long shifts, shifts that include evenings, weekends and holidays. These shifts will inevitably affect their own social and family lives. And, this is when we, as Management, need to show both empathy and support in their daily work as Protectors.

For instance, as part of the Ministry’s kick-start to the prioritization of the health and wellness of a police officer, I visited the Gugulethu SAPS Barracks, in Cape Town, only last week.

The living conditions were appalling, but the Provincial Commissioner of Police of the Western Cape told me that, I must still see our own VIP Protectors’ Barracks in Pinelands. I am told they are worse that the Barracks I saw in Gugulethu.

And, yet we expect the same VIP Protectors to perform at their peak when they drive and protect us. Each time they leave their places of stay for work, their lives are immediately put at risk, as they might not come back.

Because they are privy to our private lives as Ministers and Deputy Ministers, the Protectors might find it difficult to voice out their work-related needs, concerns, and even complaints to us.

Therefore, as the Ministry of Police, in partnership with the SAPS Employee Health and Wellness Programme, we have decided to hold an Indaba for all Protectors. We will also invite Ministers and Deputy Ministers to these talks, to discuss and deliberate on improving their work conditions.

And, believe us Ladies and Gentlemen, this Indaba has not been prompted by the death of Minister and his two Protectors. It had already been part of our programme to prioritize the health and wellness of all active police officers, since beginning of the year 2015.

We will continue to introspect our achievements as SAPS, on whether we have done enough to provide the necessary support structures for our Protectors.

Their well-being is a matter that will continue receiving preference from us, and the Minister and myself, will unapologetically hold the SAPS Management accountable to ensure that, their issues and concerns are addressed.

We will also ensure that all those outdated and oppressive policies that negate the performance and rightful benefits of our police officers are repealed and abolished.

I am a mother, and grandmother, and indeed, I am also a widow, thus I know very well the pain of loosing a loved one. May all the bereaved families find peace, love and God’s blessings in this difficult time, and know that you are not alone in your grief. We are all here in solidarity to say “Tutwini”.

I thank you all.

Enquiries: Nomsa Hani at 0827722053

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